Although several approaches to overcome difficult bile duct cannulation and gain free biliary access have been popularized, the use of gastrointestinal peptide hormonal agents such as sincalide, a cholecystokinin agonist, as an alternative method has not been evaluated. I have carried out a prospective, nonrandomized assessment of the use of sincalide for diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Overall, sincalide was used in 23% (32/136) of ERCPs in 26.6% (29/109) patients. Sincalide was successfully used to (a) obtain a cholangiogram after initial failure using only a standard catheter in 12 of 19 patients; (b) precisely locate the papilla and bile duct orifice in five of five patients; (c) locate the bile duct opening to obtain a cholangiogram and free cannulation during needle-knife papillotomy or weeks later in five of seven and three of three patients, respectively; and (d) gain free access (deep cannulation) to the bile duct after a cholangiogram in 5 of 10 patients. The selected use of sincalide appears to enhance the success of diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP; however, perseverance alone may account for some of this success. Controlled, randomized trials comparing sincalide or nothing, sincalide or a sphincterotome, or sincalide or glide or guide wire in patients in whom initial attempts to obtain a cholangiogram are unsuccessful are warranted.
From the Gastroenterology Section (111C), Veterans Administration Medical Center, Kansas City, MO, U.S.A.
Received October 30, 1996. Sent for revision December 6, 1996. Accepted February 10, 1997.
Supported by the Department of Veteran's Affairs.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Weston, 4801 East Linwood Boulevard, Veterans Administration Medical Center-Gastroenterology Section (111C), Kansas City, MO 64128, U.S.A.